The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, an organization dedicated to recognizing writers whose work reflects the voice of Georgia, celebrated its 20th anniversary less than 24 hours after the Associated Press called the 2020 presidential election.
During the virtual celebration on Nov. 8, the voice of Georgia Democratic voters was 10,620 votes louder than that of their Republican counterparts. Having served as a Republican state in the past six presidential elections, this is the first time in 28 years that Georgia could contribute its 16 electoral votes to the Democratic party in the 2020 presidential election.
In a press conference held on Nov. 6, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) told reporters that there will be a recount to determine the state’s final party stance in light of the current .2% margin favoring the Democratic party. A recount has yet to be scheduled.
In discussing his own travels across the traditionally-conservative states of Mississippi and Georgia, the anniversary celebration’s keynote speaker W. Ralph Eubanks reflected on the changing relationship that the Georgian people have with the culture and land of the South.
“It is the different and evolving relationship with Southern Place that I believe will change the very idea of what it means to be Southern,” Eubanks said.
Eubanks, the author of multiple books, articles and essays on Southern culture, as well as professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, suggested that the changing political climate of Georgia is not a surprise when reviewing changes in Southern literature over the past century.
“We are always trying to get people to see that there are lots of different Souths rather than this monolithic idea of the South,” Eubanks said.
Eubanks championed both historical and progressive Southern literature as a method to get people to discuss new and potentially controversial ideas in a changing Georgia — ideas which citizens have previously chosen to ignore.
“The things that we choose to be silent about in the South are things that I think are the stories that can be most compelling,” he added.
Eubanks anticipates that the cultural change in Georgia will persist, as Atlanta continues to operate as a “hub connecting [Georgia] to other places.”
According to director of the Hargrett Library Kat Stein and UGA Library Marketing Professional Camie Williams, the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame is currently judging new submissions and hopes to welcome a new class of inductees in the fall of 2021.
Nele Langhof is a senior majoring in English in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.
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